We are currently in the month of Ramadan, a holy month of the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims around the world observe a period of fasting. Fasting has been a part of Human culture and religion for thousands of years, and it has been practiced by many civilizations throughout history. Fasting is the act of abstaining from food and/or drink for a certain period of time. It is known to have several benefits both physical and mental, and has been shown to improve overall well-being.
Religious and Spiritual Benefits of Fasting:
Fasting is an important part of many religions and is often viewed as a way to connect with a higher power or to purify the body and mind. here are a few examples:
- Islam: In Islam, fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is observed during the holy month of Ramadan. Muslims fast from dawn to sunset and use this time for prayer, reflection, and charity. It is believed to be the month in which the first verses of the Quran (Holy Book) were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Fasting during this month is considered a way to purify the body and soul, and to strengthen one’s connection with God, while appreciating the necessity of food and to practice abstaining from things that provide pleasure.
- Christianity: In Christianity, fasting is a way to honor God and seek his guidance. It is typically observed during Lent, a period of 40 days leading up to Easter.
- Judaism: In Judaism, fasting is observed on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It is a way to seek forgiveness and to purify the soul.
- Buddhism: In Buddhism, fasting is a way to cultivate mindfulness and to practice self-discipline
Fasting intermittently has been found to have profound benefits to our health. These are some of the health benefits found so far.
- Lower Blood Sugar: Fasting has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, which is beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
- Improved Heart Health: Fasting has been shown to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglycerides, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
- Improved Brain Function: Fasting has been linked to improved brain function, including better concentration, focus, and mental clarity.
- Improved gut health, fasting allows the gut to heal and repair as it is not bogged down with digesting and absorbing food. Giving the gut a break helps to restore its health.
Recently there has been a spotlight placed on the benefits of fasting to help support healthier guts, healthier digestion, less inflammation, and better metabolism. In Chinese Medicine we know the important role diet can play in our health and wellbeing. In Chinese Medicine we believe in eating during daylight and ideally eating the heaviest in the morning and the least before bed.
As a menstruating female, how does our hormones play into all of this? Dr. Mindy Pelz sheds some light on the benefits of fasting and more importantly looking at fasting according to our hormonal needs. Varying your diet as well as your fasting schedule based on your menstrual cycle, may optimize our overall health and wellbeing. Fasting the same way, everyday will not produce the same results. Our eating and fasting schedule should be based on where you are in your menstrual cycle.
This book is incredibly insightful, full of the science of fasting and more importantly helping us optimize this very useful tool with our hormonal journey. Check out the book for more: Dr. Mindy Pelz “Fast Like A Girl”